After slow start, Brock’s American Bridge takes $1 mil from Soros

Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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George Soros is set to contribute $1 million to David Brock’s American Bridge 21st Century, The New York Times reported Tuesday. The liberal financier’s donation will be a welcome infusion for the left-wing super PAC, which has struggled to meet financial expectations heading into the 2012 elections.

Brock, who also runs Media Matters for America, debuted American Bridge in November 2010 in an interview with the Times. He founded it to establish what the paper then referred to as “a permanent liberal counterweight over the airwaves” to independent conservative groups.

Brock told the Times he had secured pledges totaling $4 million, which would all be in the bank “by the end of the first quarter of 2011.”

That claim appears to have been either a dramatic overstatement or an outright lie.

FEC records show that American Bridge had taken in only $200,000 — from two donors — by the end of March 2011.

A spokesman for American Bridge did not respond to a request for comment regarding the shortfall, and the Times has never mentioned it in any of their follow-up reporting on the group.

Since that time, American Bridge has begun to gain some traction, collecting $5.4 million from liberal supporters, and shifting its mission from producing advertising to instead conducting opposition research and candidate tracking of Republicans. Democratic strategists describe the group as the opposition research shop for the left.

In addition to donations from individual donors, American Bridge has also relied on Democratic union support, taking at least $675 thousand from the AFL-CIO, $200 thousand from the SEIU, and $100 thousand from the NEA, according to FEC records.

Soros’ donation brings the group’s publicly-known coffers to $6.4 million — still far short of its election-year goal of $15 million — and continues Brock’s mission of relying on his Media Matters donors to bankroll American Bridge. Soros had already given Media Matters at least $1,075,000 via his Open Society Institute.

Major liberal donors, many of whom coordinate their donations through the Democracy Alliance, are prepared to give up to $100 million in support of Democratic causes this year, the Times reported on Tuesday.

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